Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas and parts of Virginia earlier this month, inundating communities with high floods. The storm's historic rainfall brought an assault on the region's infrastructure and killed 44 people, but with the waters finally receding, an unexpected consequence of the tempest has revealed itself.
A formerly flooded stretch of the I-40 highway in eastern North Carolina has dried up, giving way to thousands of dead, rotting fish that now litter the road, according to the Charlotte Observer. Images posted to Facebook by the Panderlea Fire Department document the damage, and have quickly gone viral since the weekend:
"This is on a stretch of I40 in Pender County North Carolina near Wallace," the fire department writes in the post. "Hurricane Florence caused massive flooding in our area and allowed the fish to travel far from their natural habitat, stranding them on the interstate when waters receded."
The stench has been unforgiving, according to other local accounts posted to Facebook. North Carolina Department of Transportation maintenance supervisor Jeff Garrett also shared images from the scene, with rotting carcasses strewn about the highway. One fish appeared to be in the process of eating another, smaller fish when it died, per Garret's image:
The storm closed a total of 600 roads across North Carolina. Parts of I-40 were basically rendered a river after the storm's dramatic surge, but Florence didn't just wreak havoc from the perspective of dead fish: It also wrought unprecedented damage to the farming sector, with a reported 3.4 million chickens and turkeys and 5,500 hogs dying as a result of the rain and violent winds.
The beleaguered region doesn't appear to be getting much respite in the short term, as AccuWeather reports that "an incoming round of tropical downpours could exacerbate flooding and delay cleanup efforts" later this week.
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